Updated: Wednesday, March 17, 6:50 a.m. HST
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revised guidelines for nursing home visitation this past week. Resident and staff safety will continue to be at the forefront of Life Care of Kona's visitation protocols. Please note that there are still identified circumstances where visitation could be paused. For example, if one resident or staff tests positive for COVID-19, visits will be paused until all outbreak testing protocols have been completed. Other factors for consideration of a pause in visitation include the county positivity rate and the percentage of vaccinated residents.
CMS guidelines state that visits should be conducted based on the facility's structure and residents' needs. Regardless of how visits are conducted, certain core principles and best practices reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention are as follows:
These core principles are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for nursing homes and should be adhered to at all times. Visitors who are unable to adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention should not be permitted to visit or should be asked to leave. By following a person-centered approach and adhering to these core principles, visitation can occur safely based on the following guidance:
Note: CMS and CDC continue to recommend that facilities, residents and families adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection control, including physical distancing (maintaining at least six feet between people). This continues to be the safest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, particularly if either party has not been fully vaccinated. However, we acknowledge the toll that separation and isolation have taken. We also acknowledge that there is no substitute for physical contact, such as the warm embrace between a resident and their loved one. Therefore, if the resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after. Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.
While we are grateful to embrace the new normal, Life Care of Kona will gradually open its doors to visitors, while ensuring we are able to meet infection control practices set forth by CMS, CDC and our local and state health departments. To meet these criteria and ensure the safety of our community, we have set the following parameters above and beyond CMS and CDC recommendations:
We will keep you apprised of any facility or governmental changes to these protocols. COVID is an ever-changing health crisis, and changes can occur quickly, with minimal notice. We appreciate your understanding and your cooperation. Everyone has done an exceptional job of keeping the kupuna of Life Care Center of Kona protected from the perils of this pandemic!
Meredith Eder, Executive Director